A Los Alamos Girlhood

It’s probably time to start a new blog, specifically about the memoir I’m writing. I’ve been spending serious journal time doodling content and concept ideas, but had not found an entry point to begin writing.

Yesterday magic happened. A random sentence I heard earlier in the day took root and moved me to begin a new document beginning with that thought. Before my eyes drooped so low I had to crawl between the covers, about 2500 words had bubbled forth, and they were nothing I’d envisioned or considered writing. Yet they were good. They are keepers. Yes, I’ll do some editing, but my elusive concept is clear now. I can see how the story will flow. The shape has been revealed.

A key point that I often forget
is that that although it sometimes hides behind the clouds, the story is within me. It’s there. It will reveal itself, and in my experience it will only reveal itself if I begin to write. That’s what I did last night. Begin to write.

Call it Sarabelle (the muse who until last night has mostly avoided me of late), call it the Creative Subconscious, call it whatever you like. It doesn’t matter what you call it. You have access to it, and if you aspire to write, it matters that you use it.

In my experience, Sarabelle is unpredictable. At random times, always while I’m busy with something else, she gifts me with spontaneous ideas whose value I immediately recognize. If I don’t drop what I’m doing and write enough to anchor the thought so I can recall it when I return to finish the piece, she’s sulk in hiding and avoid me for ages.

Other times she slips into my fingers after I’ve warmed them up and hijacks my word flow. This is always a good thing, though the results are often surprising, as they were last night.

As I wrote my Morning Pages today, she slung a title my way: A Los Alamos Girlhood, and she reminded me of the picture you see at the top of this post. I want to use that picture as a touchstone for the book. I’m not in this picture, but the girl on the right could be me. I had a bike like that, and I often rode it through that canyon. My hair looked like that and I had a yellow shirt.

Sarabelle also suggested that I start another blog, specifically about the process of writing this book. She told me this new blog would make me feel more accountable, and help me avoid distracting sidetracks so I'll actually finish the project. She told me it will give the book it’s own identity, separating it out from the more general content of this blog.

Yes, that does sound like a good idea. I shall do that, but not today. Watch for the announcement soon.

Write now: sit down and start writing about a story idea you haven’t been able to get your arms around. Write something, anything, and quite likely Sarabelle or one of her siblings will pay you a visit. You won’t know until you try, and it may take more than one try if you don’t already have a working relationship.


Karen Walker said...

How exciting, Sharon. Can't wait to read more about your process. I'm in a similar one with my new project. It will be fun sharing.

Pat's Place said...

That IS exciting. I had planned to do my mother's stories this spring but my time got highjacked yesterday as you will see when you read my blog. Are you coming to the conference??

Sharon Lippincott said...

Karen, I'm happy to hear that you are moving along on a new project. Yay!

Sharon Lippincott said...

Pat, your hijacking experience sounds so exciting. You'll be able to rip through those stories easier than ever when the detour is done.

Linda said...

I'm looking forward to sharing your journey to the new book!

Kathleen Pooler said...


LOVE your website and blog as I am writing my first memoir(we were in one of Linda Joy Myer's memoir workshops together!) I am following you closely and look forward to sharing and learning from your journey..Sarabelle sounds wonderful!!

Kathy Pooler

Sharon Lippincott said...

Linda and Kathleen, thanks for the comments and support. Each time I write I learn something else new, about myself and about the world. I'm looking forward to the journey too.